Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Area Soldiers, veterans help one of their own

Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Quill

43rd Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Office

Going to war is tough, but sometimes coming home is just as difficult. Jeremiah Johnson found out both of these things.

Johnson, a former infantryman who was medically retired in December 2008, deployed to Iraq twice with the 2nd Infantry Division. He was wounded three times: once by an improvised explosive device, once by an enemy grenade and once when he fell through a mortar hole on a roof while under fire. Johnson received two Purple Hearts and turned down a third. After his first deployment, his wounds were such that he could have stayed home while his unit headed back to Iraq – he went anyway. No one can question Johnson’s commitment to his country, his unit and his fellow Soldiers.

Returning to Fort Carson from his second deployment he found that his struggles weren’t over. Johnson’s house had fallen into severe disrepair. Water damage had ravaged his Fountain home, creating rot throughout and mold outbreaks in the bathrooms. It was no place to live or raise a 4-year-old son, especially one with respiratory problems.

Johnson’s story became known throughout the veterans’ network in Colorado, and these former sevicemembers decided to give this tale a happy ending.

The wheels began to turn on a massive project to help Johnson out, headed by the Colorado Veterans of Foreign War Warriors, a veterans’ motorcycle organization that he is close to. Before long, groups and organizations throughout the area were pledging their support to this deserving Soldier and his son.

March 5, was the day all the planning started turning into action. Volunteers spent that day moving pretty much everything out of the house and into the garage so workers would have room to maneuver.

The day was spent prepping and painting the house, and the project got some new workers to help out. Soldiers from the 32nd Transportation Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade showed up and chipped in. In fact, they did more than that.

“Those guys kicked butt,” said Scott Reibel, one of the project’s organizers.

The 32nd TR is getting ready to deploy and many of its Soldiers were on block leave, so the Soldiers who showed up at Johnson’s house were part of its rear detachment, many with medical issues making them non-deployable.

“They had a couple of guys with canes working here,” said Reibel. “They did a great job.”

That weekend, volunteers descend on the Johnson house like an invading army. Wood was cut, new furniture assembled and placed inside and tile and sod laid down. The house got a new refrigerator and dishwasher, new rugs, and the bathrooms and bedrooms were re-done. It was organized chaos but it all seemed to work out.

“I would say at least 50 people have been out here this morning, but there’s no issue with someone helping another person to do

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